How to define tone of voice to create better content

Creating content for your business? This one’s for you.

I am not a good painter. I can’t sing (unless it’s at karaoke and the standard is set extremely low) and I’m not a particularly fast runner. Also — I need a calculator to do just about any form of maths.

But — I can talk. I love to chat, to interact with people and hear their stories. And I can take their story, and put it to paper for them.

As a marketing specialist, I am constantly chatting with our clients — getting to know them and getting a feel for their tone of voice. 

One thing I have noticed is that they often get very animated when talking about their business. They are experts in their field after all — so they can buzz for hours about panel beating, or accounting, or food manufacturing.

But when I say — ‘great, now let’s turn all that fantastic information into some content!’ — a blank look crosses their face. 

Because not everyone enjoys writing — it’s just one of those things. (Like painting, or singing, or maths.)

But here’s the thing — how you communicate with your customers, and potential customers — shapes the image they build of who you are.

In other words, content is important!

But… why?

In the good ol’ days, a potential customer would often gauge their first impression of a business by walking straight through the front door and having a conversation.

These days — your website, Facebook page or Instagram feed might be their first point of contact. It is their initial impression of you, and they want to feel like they’ve had a chat, and got to know you.

It’s why so many people have a ‘blog’ section on their website. It’s so they can share their ideas and values – and show people who they are. It’s also a useful way to demonstrate what they can do for their client, and what sets them apart from the competition.

(And there’s this SEO thing…but that’s a topic for another day.)

But, a blog that doesn’t convey the right message means less conversion. If it comes across as clunky, or boring, or doesn’t have the information they are looking for, people lose interest.

But… how?

As a content creator, it is my job to build my client’s tone of voice for them. To take their exciting ideas and thoughts and feelings, and put them together in an easily digestible way. To create an experience for their customers, where they feel like they are speaking directly to them. 

All the while, showcasing their services and encouraging a follow through to direct contact. 

If they experience that golden first impression and a sense of trust is built, they will be more likely to make a purchase, or use the service.

But how do we create ‘the right content’?

Finding your tone of voice

Many people who know the coach travel and tour company Langley’s Coaches, also know Phil Langley.

He built the company and has a passion for good service, and making people smile.

Over time, the Langley’s brand has become representative of Phil himself — friendly, hard working, caring, family focused — and an attention to detail.

Langley’s is a valued client of ours. I have spent months sitting across from Phil, listening to his stories, picking up on his tone of voice and what I call his ‘Phil-isms.’ He’s loaded up with classic one liners, but he’s also got a very interesting perspective on travel, family and culture.

And his customers know him for these things. 

We created a ‘Travels with Phil’ series, that acts as a travel blog. It showcases their sensational tours and gives readers an insight into how travelling with Langley’s is different.

Because it’s from Phil’s perspective. 

It wasn’t enough for me to read their Brand Guidelines and follow their Style Guide, (although this is important,) to learn how to turn Phil’s thoughts into a story. 

I really had to get to know him. I had to understand his relationship with his staff members, who also happen to be his family. I needed to learn about how he feels about the Tours they offer.

A royal encounter

Langley’s had the honour of being involved in the Royal Tour in Australia last year. When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited Dubbo, they were asked to provide vehicles, to be part of the motorcade and transport members of the press and staffers. 

I took the time to sit down with Phil, who drove in the motorcade himself. I picked his brain, took down his thoughts and wrote this blog post about the whole experience.

This article is an example of content that engages customers — and therefore organically reaches potential customers. People share it with their friends, people chat about it, they see it on their Facebook newsfeed and like the Langley’s page. 

And people get a feel for who Langley’s are, and what they stand for. In the transport industry, trust is an important factor. Generally, people feel safer with people they know. 

So how can you do this for your business?

The message

As a business owner, there will (and should be) a time when you decide on a ‘tone’ for your content. It needs to be in sync with the key messages you are trying to convey. 

What’s important to your customers — is it a trusting relationship? Reliability? A quality product?

Identify their needs (their pain points) and write your content in a way that shows you can meet them. 

If you have identified that reliable service is their key priority, make this a prominent feature of your homepage and create a landing page that details your satisfaction guarantee.

Speak to them in a way that conveys you are genuine. Customers want to feel like you understand them — their needs, their challenges, their business. 

If they can understand who you are and the values behind your business, this goes a long way towards bridging a trusting relationship.

Help is at hand

If writing is to you as mathematics is to me, that’s ok. Just as there are calculators to help me with addition and subtraction, content writers are here to help turn your words into a story.

We have worked with many businesses on content strategy, from regular blogs and social media, to email marketing and content design for their website.

We can devise your entire strategy and create your content from top to bottom.

If you want to find a better way to communicate with your customers, book a call.


Leanne O'Sullivan

Digital Sherpa & CEO
I help businesses grow through strategic digital marketing.​ I am the founder, CEO and Digital Sherpa of Adventure Digital – a marketing agency based in regional NSW, servicing clients all over the Australian eastern seaboard. I’ve made it my life’s mission to help you grow a sustainable, enjoyable and profitable business.

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